Opposing God’s will




Bruno Hlongwane
The last song that the choir sang touched me. When temptations come, my heart remains in You. Every person is tempted, especially believers. When temptation comes, in whom do you find refuge? This song is a prayer that when the enemy attacks you, your heart will remain in the Lord. There must be temptations in the life of a Christian, you cannot grow and mature if you are not tested. Do you go to the One who died for you? In whom do we hide, or do we just fall? God help us so that when we are tested, we will find ourselves in Him.

Michael Ngubane
We thank the Lord for what we have heard. Our God is the One who overcomes. We serve a God who moves forward and not backwards. The Lord is working. The churches at the branches are full. Young people come to hear God’s word. This is God’s work which is He leading and purifying. We praise God for everything He is doing. Visitors, Christians and non-Christians come daily and they are blessed. That is grace.

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:21-25

We are heading towards Easter, and this is a time of celebration for Christians. There are many events that children of God celebrate - all of which are important, but the most important is Easter. This is the crux of the matter; the reason Jesus came. The Lord Jesus explained to His disciples what was to come. Because they walked with Jesus there should not have been anything they did not understand regarding what Jesus was doing. By this time, they should have understood what Jesus was saying. It was evident by the way in which Jesus spoke that His time of death was close at hand. They saw yet they did not truly see. They said that if it happens, we will not allow it.

This portion touched my heart deeply. It is for all of us - the church, the leaders, the smallest child. It makes us understand who Jesus really is. If it was time for rebuke, He rebuked. If it was time for encouragement, He encouraged.

Jesus spoke to His disciples in this text. There might not have been many who understood it, but His disciples should have. He told them that He needed to go to Jerusalem and explained why. He told them clearly that He would suffer, be mocked and killed. Peter did not hear. It might not have been him only, he may have spoken on behalf of the others. ‘Lord, this shall not happen to you. Lord, when the enemy comes, we will stand up.’ Such a thing can happen to anyone, how much more if it happens to someone you love? Will you just sit and do nothing? Peter did not want Him to go to Jerusalem. ‘You will not go there. We are here for You,’ Peter said. Listen to Jesus’ answer. Many would have been offended by it and lose their faith.

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Peter, you do not understand the things of God, but you view things from a human perspective. Peter, return and see things in God’s way. Look at things through the eyes of the spirit, not the flesh. The way in which Jesus rebuked Peter was the same way in which He rebuked Satan when he tempted Him. Satan told Jesus to change the stones into bread so He could eat. Satan took Jesus onto the temple and said if Jesus worshipped him, he could have all of what He saw. Look at Satan’s lies and deception. ‘All of this is mine, worship me and you will have it.’ Jesus rebuked Satan strongly and said, ‘Satan, get behind me. You are lying by saying that everything belongs to you – all power has been given to Me, I am the ruler of all of this.’

Jesus admonished Peter strongly, just like he did to Satan. ‘You are a hindrance in the work I am doing.’ Shortly just before this, Jesus had praised Peter and said, ‘You are the rock on which I will build my church.’ The Lord had asked his disciples who people were saying He was. They responded that some said He was Elijah and mentioned other names. Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say I am?’ Peter said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. No one can do what You do if he has not come from God.’ Jesus said, ‘You say this, but it has been revealed to you. On this rock I will build my church.’ Peter was the cornerstone on which the Lord would build His work, but he did not see things spiritually. His response was: ‘Lord, this will not happen. You cannot go to Jerusalem. You cannot be killed while we are looking on.’ The Lord Jesus said to Peter that he was like Satan to Him. There was no better way to describe Peter. It was no longer relevant that Peter was praised, but at that moment, he was Satan. Therefore the Lord said, ‘Get behind me.’

You may meet someone who sings their own praises and talks about everything the Lord has done through them, but such a person could be a liar. There are none who are as dangerous to God’s work as believers. Forget the heathen. Those who are closest to you are the ones who can lead you astray. That is why you should never regard yourself as someone important. We must constantly cry out to the Lord not to pass us by.

The Lord Jesus had a calling on earth. He was sent to earth to accomplish salvation for mankind. He was one step away from accomplishing it and Peter is saying, ‘Lord, this will not happen while we are here.’ Jesus responded with, ‘Behind me, Satan because you do not see or hear the way I see or hear.’ Peter was a hindrance to Jesus’ commission. He stood in the Lord’s way. Peter opposed Jesus accomplishing His purpose. If the Lord had not gone to Jerusalem and the cross, would we have received our salvation? Would we understand what it means to be saved and overcome sin? Today we can say, there is power and salvation in the blood of the Lamb. The work was completed by the Lord Jesus on Golgotha. He completed it in spite of hindrances.

Do not oppose the Lord’s plan. Do not hinder the Lord Jesus on His way and calling. Do not be a wall that hinders salvation. The miracle of this salvation works today for those who are saved by His power. Do you hinder the Lord on his way to Jerusalem? Where are you in the path that the Lord is on? Are you holding Him up? Some stand on the road and hold the Bible yet they hinder the Lord’s plan.

‘Get behind me, Satan.’ These are hard words. At that moment, such words indicated how Peter had become a Satan to Jesus.  ‘I have a task that I need to fulfill, but you are in the way,’ Jesus said. If you are not saved that is your problem. Jesus has done the work, he sweated and he hung on the cross for that work to be accomplished. If you have not been saved yet, why? What are you waiting for? There will always be people who walk in circles. They come and go. When will salvation become a reality for you?

‘I must go to Jerusalem. I will be badly treated. I will be killed. I will rise again on the 3rd day,’ Jesus said. At this point, Peter was no longer on God’s way. He imitated Adam when Satan made them depart from what they were supposed to do. The enemy entered as he pleased.

Jesus could not be hindered by Peter and the disciples because He had a mission to save and cleanse the world. We cannot fault the Lord Jesus for His treatment of Peter. There was nothing better than this.

We should walk in the Spirit all the times. We should not obey the flesh. We should obey the Spirit and not man. How many listen to and obey man and do not do what God has said they should do? You do not listen to the One who comes from heaven. Behind me Satan, because you do not understand what is of God and you only see what man does. Jesus was speaking to someone who was close to Him and faithful to Him and yet he said, ‘Get behind me, Satan.’ How much damage do we do when we do not obey the Spirit but man? How often are we guided by our emotions and feelings? How many do not walk in the will of God, but are led by their own emotions? You are led by your feelings and you do not listen to what God says. There was no better rebuke for Peter than that. Nothing else.

We do not read that Peter was offended by what Jesus said but he still did not seem to grasp God’s will. We get some insight into Peter’s character. Peter pulled out his sword later on and cut off the ear of the servant when Jesus was arrested. Jesus said to Peter then, ‘Put away your sword. This is not the time for the sword. Put it back in its place. It is God’s time to complete the salvation of God.’ There was no way to receive salvation other than Jesus going through this suffering. There is no other way to get to heaven besides through His death and burial. There are some who are snatched up to heaven without dying, but for us there is no other way. This is the cross that everyone must experience – this is the only way that we can receive salvation.

Has the cross reached your heart? I do not mean the cross around your neck or the one in the church - has the cross of Christ done its work in your heart, young person. Are you only concerned about the pleasures of this world? Has the cross of Christ done its work in your heart? The song says it was an old rugged cross that was heavy, it resulted in sweat drops like blood - for full salvation to be accomplished for us.

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Jesus said these words to a disciple.

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

If you want to follow Jesus, pick up the cross. Many people want to be disciples of Jesus and that is wonderful. Many say that they have a calling to the Lord’s work and to preach the gospel. Many people want to follow Jesus. But if you want to, you must deny yourself. What does this mean? It means dying to yourself day in and day out; being a doormat because you are called to be a disciple. Be humble. Think of others before yourself. This is what your life should be like. On His way to the cross, the Lord taught his disciples how to live. They should not seek to be uplifted. The greatest must be the least - a servant of all. Do you want to follow Jesus? This is the way. This is what it costs. You should be the least, the most insignificant. You should become less so that the Lord becomes great. It is not words but actions; where you are ready to do anything. You could be sent to the poor, not where you would like to go. Wherever the Lord leads you, you will go. You will not choose where to go. The Lord went to the poor and the despised. He taught His disciples that they should be like the poorest and despised. You cannot say the Lord sent me yesterday, but He can get someone else today. You accept gladly wherever He sends you because you do not belong to yourself but to Jesus. You want to preach but then you are overcome by sin. You cannot even do what you preach. You should be a servant of all.

Zacchaeus had to come down from the tree. If you are uplifted, the Lord expects you to come down so He can visit you. Be someone who denies himself in every circumstance. Go where you need to go. Where He points, go there, do that. Do not go against God. Be humble and do what you are told to do. Those who followed the Lord observed how He walked and that is what we should do. You say you want to be a follower of Jesus and a child of God; this is what we are called to. The Lord says that anyone who wants to follow Him, should walk in this way.

The Lord does not plead, He said, ‘Come with me. Follow me.’ What did they say? Some answered and said, ‘I have just got married, I have a new business,’ and made excuses.’ Jesus never concerned himself with those who had their own ideas, He let them go.

Remember when there was a great crowd, He sifted them until there were only 300 left and He used them. It is the same now. It is not in numbers and qualifications but in those who want to do God’s will. How many want to do His will? How many have been called but are still stuck in their sins? You will remain in your sin and end in hell. How many are Jonahs who go in the opposite direction to where they have been sent? How many people have spent so much money just to go where Jesus has not sent them?

The Lord spoke these words to test them. A disciple goes the full distance. He will follow Him until the day of glory. The one who walks in the footsteps of Jesus will understand what it is to walk with and follow Jesus - not to walk in front of Him but behind Him as sheep follow the shepherd, as a servant follows his master, as a soldier follows his captain.

Jesus will overcome in the end. He rules until the end, and He will judge the living and dead on the last day, He should be obeyed by all people. He instructs you to part from sin and walk with Him so you will have eternal life. The question is, what are you doing to receive full salvation? You. The one who wants to save his life will lose it. In the end it will be the Lord who will rule our lives. If you want to save your life, you will end up losing it. If you do not want to listen to the Lord because you want to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for His sake, you will receive it back. Full salvation has been prepared for us before the foundation of the world. You have not been cast aside. You have been counted a part of this plan. Do not be haughty and proud. How long will you oppose him? Follow the Lord or are you a Satan as Peter was?

Dr Seiling
There is something very difficult about these words. If you are a disciple, it means that you are exactly like your rabbi. Take up your cross here means take up your execution stake. The Greek word for the execution stake is ‘stauros’ – a pole on which you are killed. Just before this He said to Peter, ‘Don’t stop me from dying.’ Then he says in verse 25, …for whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for my sake, will find it. My life is my soul, it is what I do with myself. What this is saying is, if you want to follow Me, destroy yourself, destroy what you want to do completely and do what I want you to do. If you destroy your life in this life, whilst you are living, you can live fully for Him, but you cannot do that with sin and unrighteousness in your life.

What good will it do if someone gains the whole world but forfeits His life? If we continue doing what we want to, and not what the Lord wants us to, this is what we are doing. If we gain the whole world and do what we want to do, we forfeit our life, our eternal life, because it starts here while we are living for the Messiah.

Conclusion Nico Bosman
We thank the Lord for what we have heard from Mr Ngubane and Dr Seiling. May the words stay with us and work in our lives.